Mobile virtual network operator Izi enters Kazakh market

NUR-SULTAN – Izi, a new MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) that provides its services exclusively online, has entered the Kazakh market, reported The operator is using a KaR-Tel company licence.

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Izi, which launched the beta version of its services June 27, offers an alternative to conventional customer support (service offices and call centres). The service provides a website and app with live chat aimed at solving customers’ problems remotely. The beta version has a limited number of services, according to a company representative.

“Izi already has the most important services that 99 percent of customers use, but the list of services will rapidly expand,” he told the website.

SIM card delivery is currently available in Almaty. After receiving their cards, customers can activate them and choose a service pack through the website or app. Service packs are fully customisable and, unlike the majority of Kazakh mobile operators, have no expiration dates. Price points for the released data plans are $4.18 for 10 GB and $7.83 for 30 GB.

The KaR-Tel license also represents Beeline, a more conventional mobile operator, and Izi is designed using the company’s existing network.

KaR-Tel attempted to launch a less conventional mobile operator in Kazakhstan in 2011. Dos (Friend in Kazakh), a low-cost service designed to compete with similar low-cost operator Tele2, lasted only 18 months.

Izi’s competitors are sceptical about the project’s perspectives, reported Timur Turlov, a member of the Kcell board of directors, expressed uncertainty about whether the current state of the market is favourable for launching the new product via direct sales.

“Izi started in one of the most expensive marketing channels – direct sales… At the same time, the market is already at the minimal price possible; the connection is cheap, the mobile operators have low margins and the price competition decreased,” he said.

Prime Source company CEO Evgeny Scherbinin, however, noted the project offers synergy opportunities for the financial industry.

“Today, 90 percent of the client’s interactions are not in the infrastructure of financial organisations, but in mobile applications and on the Internet. It pushes banks to look for options for cooperation with marketplaces, social networks, aggregators and providers of various services. The most complete, operational, reliable source of customer information is the cellular operator,” he said.

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